The River City Brewing Company of Jacksonville, Florida, is located right over the St. John’s river in the downtown area of Jacksonville. The restaurant offers a large seating area (for up to 325 guests) and showcases a BrewHouse Lounge, where one may go view the on-site, glass-enclosed brewery and sample a beer or two.
The River City Brewing Company takes full advantage of being located on the river, offering a large outdoor patio area where one can enjoy the fine Florida weather, as well as the downtown skyline. On weekends, this outdoor patio area is prepared for live bands and other entertainment.
The lunch menu at River City features such items as the RCBC Gumbo (consisting of shrimp, oysters, Andouille sausage and chicken cooked in a thick broth), Jambalaya (made with shrimp, crawfish, fish, Andouille sausage, and chicken in a spicy tomato broth with white cheddar cheese), and Southern Shrimp & Grits (made with smoked tomato Gouda cheese and stone-ground grits, then topped with shrimp). The dinner menu at River City features such entrées as the Crab Imperial Mayport Shrimp (six large shrimp that are topped with crab and served with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables), Filet Mignon (served with a two potato smoked Gouda gratin and creamed spinach), and Porcini-Dusted Jumbo Sea Scallops (served with wild mushroom and asparagus risotto).
There are also some fine beers to sample (or indulge in) at River City Brewing Company. One may try the Jackson Pale Ale (a pale ale made with Vienna malt and lots of Oregon hops), Jag Light (a light-colored ale made with Bavarian Pilsner malt), Red Rooster Ale (made with four different German malts and toasted wheat), or Riptide Porter (made with several roasted German and English malts and roasted wheat).
While passing through the downtown area of Jacksonville, I decided to stop in at River City Brewing Company for a refreshment or two. The place had just opened for lunch and was rather empty, but patrons were filtering in slowly. After being directed to the BrewHouse Lounge (the restaurant area was not yet open), I ordered a seasonal beer called the Kentucky Bourbon Ale. This beer came in a wine glass and was reported to be 12% ABV (alcohol by volume). Intrigued, I took my glass outside on the patio, and then took a sip of the brew under the open Florida sky. True to its word, the Ale did taste like a very smooth bourbon. I never felt the sting of the excessive alcohol, which is an amazing quality for any kind of barleywine beer. The sweetness of the malt was present in the brew, but was not overpowering. Arguably, this was the best barleywine I had ever had to date.
While I did consider having another brew, or just another Kentucky Bourbon, it was time to move on. I do hope to return to this fine establishment in the future.